What were the methods of abolitionism?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The nineteenth-century abolition movement used a number of different methods, ranging from petitions to Congress to outlaw slavery in Washington D.C. to attempts by John Brown to foment a slave uprising in Western Virginia. Abolitionists relied heavily on the press, with specialty newspapers like William Lloyd Garrison's Liberator and Frederick Douglass's North Star being two of the most prominent examples. The movement often centered on churches, and indeed appeals to abolish slavery were often made along religious lines. Anti-slavery orators like Wendell Phillips gave speeches at churches and university lecture halls criticizing the institution. Another favored method of criticizing slavery was through narratives of freed or escaped slaves, like Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, and Henry "Box" Brown. These men and women sought to expose their readers to the horrors of slavery as they experienced it. Still others protested slavery through civil disobedience, particularly after the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Finally, a crucial aspect of the movement was the abolitionist society, which usually took the form of small organizations, set up usually by wealthy bourgeois northerners, that raised money and promoted many of the methods mentioned above.

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